Kota language (India)

Kō mānt
Native toIndia
RegionNilgiri Hills
Native speakers
930 (2001 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kfe
ELPKota (India)

Kota is a language of the Dravidian language family with about 9000 native speakers in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu state, India. It is spoken mainly by the tribal Kota people. In the late 19th century, the native speaking population was about 1,100.[2] In 1990, the population was only 930, out of an ethnic population of perhaps 1,400, despite the great increase in the population of the area.[1] The language is 'critically endangered' due to the greater social status of neighbouring languages.[3] The Kota language may have originated from Tamil-Kannada and is closely related to Toda. The Kota population is about 2500. The origin of the name Kota is derived from the Dravidian root word 'Ko' meaning Mountain.[4][5]


Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Post-alv./
Nasal m ɳ ɲ
Stop voiceless p t ʈ c (t͡ʃ) k
voiced b d ɖ ɟ (d͡ʒ) ɡ
Fricative s
Tap ɾ ɽ
Approx. central ʋ j
lateral l ɭ

[s] and [z] occur in free variation with /c (t͡ʃ)/ and /ɟ (d͡ʒ)/. [ʂ] occurs as an allophone of /s/ before retroflexes.


  1. ^ a b Kota at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Caldwell, Robert. 1875. A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Or South-Indian Family of Languages. London: Trübner & Company
  3. ^ Prema, S. n.d. "Status of Dravidian Tribal Languages in Kerala" University of Kerala
  4. ^ Raju, Jamuna (30 June 2012). "The Kota Tribes of Nilgiris". Breeks Chatter. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  5. ^ Narasimhacharya, R. (1990). History of Kannada Language. New Delhi, Madras: Asian Educational Services. p. 37. ISBN 9788120605596.
  6. ^ Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian languages (null ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-511-06037-3.

Further reading[]

  • Emeneau, M.B. 1944. Kota Texts California: University of California Press.
  • Emeneau, M. B. (April 2000). "Some Origins of Kota -j(-)". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 120 (2): 231–233. doi:10.2307/605026. JSTOR 605026.
  • Emeneau, M. B. (June 1969). "Onomatopoetics in the Indian Linguistic Area". Language. 45 (2): 274–299. doi:10.2307/411660. JSTOR 411660.
  • Emeneau, M. B. (24 December 2009). "Proto-Dravidian *c-: Toda t-". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 15 (1): 98–112. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00087280. JSTOR 608887.

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